Someone once told that if you learn a new thing every day you will end up as the wisest man in the world.
As we’ve discussed previously, (notably in relation to the dik-dik episode) there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. It’s likely that you may end up as the most knowledgeable man in the world, but wisdom may still be beyond your grasp.
Anyway, unless you are Stephen Fry or a quiz champion there isn’t necessarily any money in knowledge. Quite honestly, if the price of riches is becoming Stephen Fry I’m not sure the price is worth it. Same goes for quiz champions – I really don’t want to cram my head with sporting trivia and I’m quite happy with my patchy knowledge of the Kings and Queens of England. Having a few gaps in the list is a human failing I can endure, and knowing that Louis VIII of France was also briefly King of England (a fact overlooked by school history books) gives me a slight tingle of smugness.
So what have you learned today Simon? I hear you ask, knowing full well I am setting you up for something.
I have learnt the meaning of the word sempiternal. I take no pleasure in knowing it as I will probably never use the word, but will have to leave it on a mental shelf alongside rictus, jeremiad and obfuscate. All fine words but not really usable in 2015.
It’s also a bit embarrassing because it’s used in T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding (a poem I have read and a village I have visited) and I hadn’t bothered to look it up. That doesn’t look good for a man who likes words and learning things. However, I was a teenager and I have changed since then (perhaps even improved).
Talking of T. S. Eliot, did you know that his name is an anagram for “toilets”?
My father-in-law (who wrote light verse and had a reasonable facial resemblance to Eliot) never tired of pointing that out. In fairness to my father-in-law, who might be seen as coming off second best here in intellectual terms, his verse may not have attracted the critical acclaim of Eliot’s, but he did read on stage with a number of well-known performance poets and he did always put a smile on your face.
On top of that, with my father-in-law, having been a physiotherapist all his life, was a sound man to consult if you had nagging joint pain.
I’ve never felt that Eliot would have offered much comfort once the damp weather drew on and your knee started to creak.
As for tomorrow’s learning – I need to find out how to grow coffee plants and why we need the word sempiternal when eternal looks like it will do the job just as well.
Has anybody out there in hotter places grown coffee plants?